What Tinnitus Sounds Like?

Tinnitus is a symptom in which an individual experiences ringing or other noises in one or both of your ears. 

However, if you’re not familiar with the condition tinnitus, you might be curious to know what tinnitus sounds like.

In this article, I will cover some key information about tinnitus, including the main cause of tinnitus and what it sounds like.

Keep reading to find out more.

What Is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is when you experience ringing or other noises in one or both of your ears. 

The noise that you can hear within your ears when you have tinnitus isn’t caused by an external sound, and other people usually can’t hear it.

What Is the Main Cause of Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a symptom usually caused by an underlying condition. These can include age-related hearing loss, an ear injury, or a problem with the circulatory system. 

Tinnitus can be chronic or temporary. Many people can experience temporary tinnitus as the result of a one-time exposure to loud noise.

For instance, you might attend a loud music concert or a nightclub that causes you to hear high-pitched ringing in your ears for a few hours after. 

Other common triggers for tinnitus include:

  • Earwax blockage
  • Nasal congestion
  • Noise-induced hearing loss
  • Middle ear infections
  • Age-related hearing loss
  • Ototoxic medications (or drugs known to damage inner ear cells)

What Tinnitus Sounds Like?

How tinnitus sounds can differ between individuals and can change over time. Tinnitus is often described as a perpetual ringing in the ears. The noises of tinnitus may vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal, and you may hear it in one or both ears.

That being said, tinnitus can also be described as:

  • Buzzing
  • Whooshing
  • Throbbing
  • Roaring
  • Clicking
  • Hissing
  • Music or singing
  • Humming

When you have tinnitus, these sounds may come and go, or you might be able to hear them constantly. This is largely subjective, and can vary from person to person. 

What If Your Tinnitus is Chronic?

If your tinnitus cannot be treated, your doctor might refer you to a certain type of talking therapy to help you cope with it.

This might be:

Cognitive behavioural therapy – This type of therapy could help you to alter the way you think about your tinnitus, and provide you with the tools to not concentrate on it so much.

Tinnitus counselling – This type of counselling is useful to help you learn more about your tinnitus and might help you to find ways to cope better with it.

Tinnitus retraining therapy – This involves using sound therapy to retrain your brain to tune out and be less aware of the tinnitus so that it bothers you less.

While it isn’t guaranteed that retraining therapy works for everyone, it is often recommended by doctors for people who are struggling with tinnitus.

Methods You Can Try To Help Cope with Tinnitus

Having tinnitus can feel overwhelming at times, and it’s normal to occasionally feel isolated or frustrated by the ringing in your head. 

Depending on the type of tinnitus you have, you might experience hopelessness if it turns out to be chronic. However, tinnitus is more common than you think. In fact, tinnitus affects 15-20% of people, and there are methods you can try to help you cope.

These coping methods include but are not limited to:

Trying to relax – Yoga, mediation, and deep breathing might help you to forget about your tinnitus.

Avoiding things that make your tinnitus worse – Loud music, background noise, and stress can heighten your tinnitus. Try to limit these things and keep yourself calm as much as possible.

Finding ways to improve your sleep – If tinnitus is affecting your sleep, try sticking to a bedtime routine and if you tend to drink caffeine, make sure that you cut down as you get further into the afternoon.

Joining a support group – If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your tinnitus, try joining a support group full of like-minded people going through the same thing. Talking to other people with tinnitus may help you cope better and make you feel less alone.

Reading self-help books – Self-help techniques to do with tinnitus can help you manage your thoughts and feelings towards your tinnitus and give you a more positive mindset.

If these methods don’t work for you, then you should seek professional advice from your doctor.

They will be able to help you and provide you with more information on your tinnitus.

If you are struggling with tinnitus, make sure that you avoid:

Sitting in total silence – Sitting in silence can heighten your tinnitus and cause you to focus on it. To avoid this, try listening to soft music or sounds that can distract you from the ringing in your ears. If you can’t sleep with music on, try listening to sounds like rain sounds or white noise which is often used to settle crying babies.

Focusing on it – While this is easier said than done, there’s no getting away from the fact that tinnitus is a condition that you are eventually going to have to learn to live with. The best thing you can do is to try not to focus on it, as concentrating on your tinnitus can escalate into you obsessing over it and can actually make it worse.

In Summary 

Tinnitus is often described as a perpetual ringing in the ears. However, there are also a range of other sounds that you can experience, and it is subjective to the person with the symptom.

Depending on the type of tinnitus you have, it could be temporary or a lifelong symptom that you must learn to live with. Although tinnitus can feel overwhelming and isolating at times, there are methods you can try to help you cope.

Don’t lose hope, there are a variety of options available to help. If you’re struggling with tinnitus and it is affecting your mental health, make sure that you reach out to your doctor or healthcare professional to seek further advice.